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Med Interlude

The Colossus class of Light Fleet Carriers were a utility design without armoured decks, a top speed of 25 knots and only close range A.A. guns as ship’s armament. The order for H.M.S. Glory was placed on 25-3-1942 and the keel was laid on 28-8-1942 at Harland & Wolff, Belfast, she was Job No.12. On Saturday 27th November 1943 was she was launched by Lady Cynthia Brookes (wife of the Northern Ireland P.M.) and then spent 1944 being fitted out. Then on 21st of February 1945 she was commissioned. Captain Sir Anthony Buzzard DSO.OBE. had already spent three months overseeing the final fitting out.

There had been three previous Glorys, the first, a ship of the line of 1933 tons and 98 guns which took part in the "Glorious 1st of June 1794" battle during which she had 52 killed. Next came a fifth rate of 1153 tons and 38 guns; she took part in the capture of Martinique and Guadeloupe. The third was a battleship with four 12" and twelve 6" guns which took part in Gallipoli and Dardenelles in support of the Anzac Division.

H.M.S. Glory slipped her berth on Friday 23rd March to begin her sea trials and working up. Then on May 14th she became operational and left the Clyde and made her way to the Med. before heading for Freemantle where she was just in time for V.J. Day, then on to Rabaul for the signing of the surrender of the Japanese forces there. Later with her hanger deck converted to accommodation for re-repatriated P.O.Ws. she went to Canada and Sydney with them.

By August ‘46, with her aircrews all by now R.N. she embarked on a time of flying exercises and showing the flag visits, but 12 months later that was over and she departed for home with her paying off pennant flying via Singapore, Trincomalee and the Med. arriving in October.

From then until October 1949 she was in Devonport dockyard before starting her second commission which took her back to the Med. for more exercises and flag showing including the fleet visit to Malta for H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth’s visit. In December she was on her way home to re-commission and go to the Far East as the Korean War was now taking place but first she had to endure a severe battering in the Bay of Biscay which entailed extra work before her new now Chatham crew could take her back to the Med. to re-embark her squadrons (14th C.A.G.) and work up to a war footing.

H.M.S. Glory arrived in Sasebo in April 1951 and the handover from H.M.S. Theseus took place; a Yank helicopter and crew for rescue duties was on loan from the U.S.N. for the first tour. From then on she operated nine day patrols off the West coast of Korea alternating with an American carrier. After a tour of nine patrols she was relieved by her sister ship H.M.A.S. Sydney and left for Australia for a refit. By February 1952 she was back in the Yellow Sea, this time to complete five patrols before handing over to H.M.S. Ocean. Then it was back to Med. as the 14th C.A.G. were now time expired and due home. With her new squadrons worked up Glory took over from Ocean on the 4th November and was back on patrol a few days later. Eleven patrols later she again handed over to H.M.S. Ocean and headed for home arriving in Portsmouth on July 9th 1953.

Following a refit in Rosyth it was back to the Med. for another round of flying exercises and flag-showing visits before returning to Portsmouth in February ‘54. That saw the end of the Glory’s flying as she now became a ferry carrier making a trip out to the Far East again dropping off and picking up men and supplies en route, spending a few hours on a mud bank in the Great Bitter Lake on her way out there. Shortly after her return she took part in delivering relief supplies in Scotland during the blizzards of January 1955. The remainder of that year was spent in Rosyth before in May ‘56 leaving for Plymouth for a few weeks before she returned to Rosyth in June and was finally Paid Off. In 1957 all preservation work was stopped, then after being on the disposal list for a time the tugs arrived on August 23rd. 1961 to tow her to Inverkeithing to be broken up.

 

Most of the above is based on the book  "H.M.S. Glory"  -  The history of a light fleet carrier. by Peter Barrett.

See also "With the Carriers in Korea" by the late Lt. Cdr. John R. P. Lansdown R.N.